Ask Demetria: My Family Is Divided Over a Rape Accusation

Family matters.

Occasionally, readers have queries that don’t fit conveniently into the ask.FM box. My general rule, is that if it’s too long to fit, it’s a question that requires coaching (or maybe therapy) instead of a quick answer. (If you have a question that falls into the in-need-of-coaching category, hit me up: coachedbybelle at gmail dot com. PLEASE NOTE: there is a fee.)

This one, I made an exception for. A man wrote in to say that his female cousin recently claimed that he father raped her 9 years ago. The family is deeply divided over the issue and certain factions have stopped speaking to each other for more than 8 months.

I provided an in depth answer to him privately, and it was to get a therapist involved ASAP. (You’ll understand after you read his story.) Because this is a deeply personal story, I did ask if it was okay to share it since he contacted me privately. He asked that I would:

“I use to think the movie Precious was overly dramatic and distant until my cousin became my real life “Precious”. I hope this story will inspire others to ban together as family should and be courageous in a fight against family curses.”

Without further hesitation:

My family has been left divided over a rape claim. My cousin, 23, claimed her father raped her when she was 14. She has decided to press charges against her father. My cousin told investigators she tried to fight off her father when the rape took place. She has been tested for HIV twice a year since she was 16 and by God’s grace tests negative.

Her mother, my aunt, did not take her seriously and immediately dismissed her claim. In fact, she laughed.  Half of my family, including me, support my cousin, while others like my grandmother and her own mother do not. This has left us divided and some of us have not spoken in over eight months.

Here is some back story to this entire situation. My cousin’s father has 10 kids with 5 different women, including my aunt. He is currently married to one of this women women, and yes, you guessed it, it’s not my aunt. Yet, my aunt insists that he will divorce this woman and eventually put a ring on her finger.

Here is the shocker…

Two years ago my aunt discovered she was HIV positive. This was 8 years into her now rekindled relationship with my cousin’s (still married) father. He claims he is negative, but refuses to get tested.

Despite all of these details, certain family members choose to negate his history and reject my cousin’s claims. Furthermore, her mother feels that her daughter’s negative status is proof that her father is an innocent man.

I have decided to hold a family “Iyanla, Fix Our Life” type of meeting/intervention, but my significant other thinks it’s a bad idea. Is it?

What do you think?

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. AJ says:

    let’s be realistic- a young woman has gone to the appropriate lengths to be taken seriously and have her story corroborated by the authorities. I sincerely doubt that if she was lying, she would talk to investigators and take the precautions she has in terms of being screened for HIV biannually. That being said, holding an intervention for non-supportive or disbelieving family members is not the answer. It is clear that even with a preponderance of evidence, her mother chooses to disbelieve her, and that her grandmother is complicit in the ignorance. This sort of indifference will not change, no matter how much talking is done on either side. The best thing you and the other supportive family members can do is to cover her in love and your continued support as she battles her way through this issue, whether that means testifying in court, rebuilding her life away from her mother and grandmother, or therapy. You cannot, however, expect to make this situation better by cornering her mother and her grandmother and forcing them to look at a truth that they have decided to ignore. Blessings to your family.

  2. lightboc says:

    What a powerful and frighteningly common story. In the end, you can’t help people that don’t want to be helped. I admire the writing for being able to stand up to elders who are really hurting their family, but I think the best thing to do is remove the cousin, go forward with charges and learn to live without that negativity. If her mother is going to stand by this man’s side- a man that has not done right by her and has obvi showed his a** a number of times- she has her own demons to battle.

  3. Caryn says:

    I think that if they hold an intervention/ meeting a mediator or therapist

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